A while ago I privately vowed to curtail my Tunnel View images; not because I'm unhappy with them, or because I've run out (not even close, I'm afraid), but because the world just has so many of them. The fact is, while I visit Tunnel View multiple times on each trip, I rarely photograph here anymore. But every once in a while I see something that causes me to raise my camera, and who can resist a rainbow?
At the end of March I conducted the first of two 2010 Yosemite spring workshop targeting, among other things, the full moon and Lower Yosemite Fall moonbow. We were fortunate on the first night to photograph both, because shortly after our moonbow shoot, clouds rolled in and treated Yosemite Valley to several days of wind and rain. The photography wasn't always comfortable, but we had some fantastic opportunities.
On our final day the storm hunkered down in the valley, dumping buckets and obscuring every prominent feature with dense, gray clouds. Rain is a prime prime ingredient in my recipe for good photography, but when the clouds drop into Yosemite Valley and the rain falls so hard that it's impossible to fire off a single frame without large drops freckling the front of the lens, it's time to sit tight and wait for the inevitable clearing.
After circling the valley once and finding no sign of a break, I brought my group to Tunnel View to wait things out. Tunnel View is my default choice for sitting out a storm, for several reasons: storms usually clear first at Tunnel View, the clearing there is always spectactular, and I can check the National Weather Service radar on my iPhone (I'm pretty sure this was a big reason Ansel Adams preferred Tunnel View too).
We parked and watched the downpour through fogged windows, but after a few minutes the little boy in me took over and I just had to go stand in the rain. I'd recently outfitted myself with a head-to-toe rain ensemble that included waterproof boots, rain pants, and a hooded parka, and as anyone who has ever been a child knows, there's nothing quite like standing in a downpour and staying completely dry. My camera and tripod joined me, donning a less elegant but no less effective garbage bag.
So there I stood in saturated bliss, with the rain showing no sign of relenting, and me showing no signs of caring. Imagine my surprise when literally without warning the clouds lifted and the sky brightened, revealing Bridalveil Fall, the faint outline of El Capitan, and a vivid rainbow etched across the granite sky. Fortunately I'd already metered the scene so my exposure was close; all I needed to do was tear off the bag, bump my shutter speed, compose, and shoot. I got off maybe three frames before the sky darkened and the clouds dropped to absorb the scene as quickly as it had appeared. It all happened so fast that I questioned whether I'd imagined the whole thing.
* Website: Eloquent Images
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